Kamchatka Fly Fishing & Visitors Guide – In this first major guide to the fabulous fly fishing and other superlative attractions of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, Rene Limeres, the co-author/publisher of the award-winning Alaska Fishing: The Ultimate Angler’s Guide has drawn on years of personal experience, augmented by information contributed by local experts to create a useful and interesting guide for anyone contemplating a visit to this last great frontier of outdoor adventure. Comprehensive overviews of Kamchatka’s main regions, combined with insider’s tips on trip planning will be of great benefit to all readers. For fly anglers, a rundown of the major sport species and the best techniques, gear and fly patterns for each should be of special interest, as will the author’s descriptions of Kamchatka’s major fishing locations and how best to access and fish them.
The book’s content is enhanced by numerous illustrations, including maps, diagrams, charts and photographs, by the author and talented local photographers and guides. Bonus section in the back of the book includes information on the common fauna and flora of Kamchatka and best fly patterns list.
Extracts from “Kamchatka Fly Fishing & Visitors Guide” by Rene Limeres:
Kamchatka-Last Frontier of Cold Water Angling
Because of its strategic military importance, the Kamchatka Peninsula was one of the last places in Russia to officially welcome foreigners, and it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that the first groups of American anglers got a chance to wet their lines in the streams of this former forbidden area. What they found exceeded their expectations. Here was a province of rivers- hundreds of clear flowing and utterly pristine drainages, running hither and yon across a rugged land of incomparable wild beauty, filled with smoldering volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, verdant meadows and birch forests. What made this paradise even more desirable was the rather obvious fact that Kamchatka’s rivers, like those in Alaska, were blessed with amazingly abundant salmon, trout and char populations that, due to isolation, had survived, virtually intact, the ravages of civilization.
Introduction to Kamchatka
Steeped in mystery and isolation, the Kamchatka Peninsula has long been an inspiring dream for would-be-adventurers. From the days of Vitus Bering, it has been a fabled land of fire, ice, fur and fish, beyond the farthest reaches of mainland Siberia. It extends over 700 miles from the eastern tip of Asia into the north Pacific, just beyond the sweep of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Shaped somewhat like a spear point, at its widest, some 300 miles across, it has a landmass with surrounding islands of approximately 182,000 square miles, larger than the state of California, and almost all of it total wilderness.
Forged in the crucible of the Pacific’s “Ring of fire”, the peninsula has abundant volcanism evident in the dozens of volcanoes scattered up and down its mountainous core- some 29 or so still trailing plumes in the sky- and hundreds of hot springs and other geothermal features, equaled in number and impressiveness only by those of Iceland. Kluchevsky, the dominating, classic cone-shaped volcano of the massive Klyuchi Group at the northern end of the eastern volcanic chain of mountains is well over 15,000 feet in elevation, the largest active volcano in all of Eurasia. And the “Valley of Geysers” in Kronotsky Preserve and nearby Uzon caldera with hundreds of steaming thermal pools and mud cauldrons rivals America’s Yellowstone. Many of these spectacular features can be accessed from the road system or via short helicopter ride from key hubs, and thus are a major attraction to eco-adventurers the world over.
Adding to the abundant topographical beauty are more than 400 glaciers, several colossal mountain ranges, thousands of rivers and lakes, extensive, marshy coastal plains and hundreds of miles of rugged, rocky coastline. With abundant wildlife rivaling, and in some ways even exceeding, that of Alaska, Kamchatka’s natural wonders include unique sanctuaries like the phenomenal Kurile Lake/Ozernaya River system, the most abundant sockeye salmon rearing habitat in Asia and one of the world’s best places to observe brown bears and eagles.
Populated by around 330,000 people, predominantly transplanted Russians (with native groups making up only 4% of the total) who live mostly in and around the largest city and main hub of Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka is essentially deserted once you leave its sparse road system. The economy, like that of Alaska, is built on resource extraction, with fishing, mining and lumbering the mainstay and a small amount of farming, cattle and reindeer herding and fur trapping. It is only recently that a small tourist industry has taken hold to service the growing needs of a world hungry for exotic and unspoiled vacation destinations.
One of Kamchatka’s main attractions of course, and the key focus of this book, is the phenomenal flyfishing potential of the hundreds of clear flowing streams along its coast, many of which have never been adequately sampled by modern anglers. The peninsula’s location, physiography and climate have created what are perhaps the finest stream fishing conditions on the planet, with thousands of miles of perfect wade-and-cast, sight fishing for abundant trout, char, grayling and six species of salmon. (Unlike much of the water in Alaska that is too deep, swift or glacially silted for good flyfishing.) And the richness of the stream biota includes abundant aquatic insect life for some of the best dry fly fishing west of Montana.
It is to this end that we have compiled all the information presented in this book, to give prospective fly anglers and other tourists a feel for the unique flavor of the Kamchatka Peninsula and all it has to offer, and present useful guidelines on how to best plan and enjoy an adventure in what is surely one of the most appealing and least spoiled destinations on the planet. We have included details on many of the most notable area attractions besides fly fishing, for those interested, as well as information on some of the major activities available for tourists. For folks wanting to learn more about Kamchatka’s many attractions and activities, we encourage them to contact some of the agencies and organizations listed.
- Alaska – Russian Far East Flights: Direct, non-stop air service between Alaska and Kamchatka.
- Tours to Kamchatka: Many trips are synchronized with Yakutia Airlines’ summer service; the rest can be readily adapted to the airline’s schedule upon request.
- Check Kamchatka Travel Portal. It provides a wealth of information about many local activities, restaurants, hotels, and more.